Fondue Pot: An Overview Everything You Need to Know
Author: Diptesh Das
If you’re not particularly gifted with culinary talents, cooking can be hard. But who doesn’t want to whip up something exotic once in a while and impress everyone? Well, fondue is one of the best ways to do that. Whether you cook it with cheese or chocolates, it always turns out to be fun and delicious. It’s also really easy to make! But to get started, you need a fondue pot.
Before you invest in one, here’s everything you need to know about fondue pots and cooking fondue in them!
A Little about Fondue
Fondue is a specialty of Switzerland, traditionally served as a melted cheese delicacy in a pot sitting over a portable stove. It is eaten with a side of bread or vegetables by dipping them in the melted cheese. The fun part is that it is enjoyed as a community meal. Since the ’50s, fondue has started to include other items like chocolate or broth in which food is dipped and enjoyed together by a large group of people.
What is a Fondue Pot?
To serve fondue in an authentic way, you need a fondue pot. It is a cookware that includes a pot, i.e., caquelon, in which the fondue is cooked and served. A stand supports the vessel as it sits on top of a portable stove or rechaud, powered by different fuel sources like candle or gel fuel. Some fondue pots are used on the stovetop to cook the fondue and shifted to the rechaud to keep the fondue warm.
How a Fondue Pot Set Works
The key ingredient of fondue, i.e., cheese, chocolate, etc., can be melted and cooked with the other ingredients into a gooey deliciousness on the stovetop or on the rechaud of the fondue set. But it takes more time to achieve the desired consistency on the portable stove due to the power of the fuel used.
Once cooked, the heat of the fondue set’s stove keeps the fondue warm so that it doesn’t cool down or begin to set. Diners dip foods into the sauce with long-stemmed forks to cover them in fondue. Fondue can be enjoyed as a starter or as a meal. Chocolate fondue, on the other hand, is a delicious dessert.
Usually, the process of cooking cheese fondue is more elaborate than other fondues. By the time you reach the bottom of the vessel, there’s usually a thin, crusty layer of cheese left, called the religieuse. It has the texture of a cracker, and it forms when the fondue set manages to keep the temperature stable.
While fondue is traditionally a community meal served in a single, large pot into which everyone dips their food bits, it has become more personal now. You will find pots and stoves that can only accommodate enough fondue for a single person. These usually have space for a tea light candle.
Types of Fondue Pots
A fondue pot, or caquelon, can be made of different materials. Each of them has its own capability of heating up and retaining heat. So, before you buy a fondue pot set, here’s a little bit about the different materials of caquelon to know what kind of fondue you can cook in them. Let’s take a look!
a) Ceramic Pot:
A fondue pot made of ceramic or earthenware is used for chocolate fondues. It is also ideal for warming and serving cheese fondue, especially in the case of single service. A fondue pot made of this material is appropriate for fondues that don’t need high heat, which is why it can’t be used for wine or broth.
b) Metal Pot:
Fondue pots can be made of different types of metals, such as stainless steel, cast iron, and even copper. Metal pots are perfect for keeping fondues on high heat, especially when meat or seafood is getting cooked in hot oil or broth. They are also used for cooking cheese fondues at a lower temperature.
c) Enamel-Coated Cast Iron Pot:
This is a modified version of the cast iron fondue pot - except it is coated with enamel. Thus, it becomes a non-stick pot that doesn’t need to be seasoned with oil before cooking. Using an enamel-coated cast iron fondue pot, you can cook any kind of fondue. It is also ideal for keeping all kinds of fondues warm.
With the rising popularity of fondues, there have been many changes and modifications to this delicacy. Accordingly, fondue pots, too, have changed. For instance, besides the fondue pots mentioned above, you will also find pots that are made of other materials, such as porcelain or tempered glass. Such pots are used as single service pots after the fondue has been cooked in a large pot and set on the rechaud.
Fondue Heat Source
A fondue set is more than just a pot. It has a rechaud, or stove, which needs a fuel source to keep the fondue warm. Sometimes, this stove fuel is also used for cooking fondue from scratch. Let us take a look at the different fuel sources that can be used in a fondue stove:
- Electricity: Modern plug-in fondue pots are powered by electricity. It is a versatile fuel and can cook all kinds of fondues.
- Butane: Some fondue sets need a butane burner unit and fuel canisters. It is a multi-purpose fuel but tends to burn too hot and is ideal for oil or broth.
- Alcohol Fuel: This type of fuel is quite versatile and works best in an adjustable burner. It is ideal for anything from chocolate to oil.
- Gel Fuel: Gel fuel includes paste gel, bottled gel, and canned Sterno. It is less powerful and is put in the burner for different fondues.
- Tea Light Candle: This is the least powerful fuel source but is ideal for keeping dessert fondues warm. It’s also used in single-serve pots.
Various types of fondue sets are designed with different rechauds and burners so that various fuel sources can be used. Depending on how powerful the heat source is, these can be used to melt the cheese or chocolates, cook oil or broth, or keep different types of fondue warm.
A fondue set includes the following equipment and utensils: Fondue pot or caquelon Portable stove or rechaud with burner Long-stemmed forks or skewers Cooking fork Fondue plates for cooked and uncooked foods Lazy Susan bowls and dipping trays Splatter guard Depending on the type of fondue set that you buy, many or all of these accessories or utensils may be included. Otherwise, you will have to purchase them separately.
Over time, different types of fondue types have become desired delicacies at dinner tables. To make your dinner a success, you need the right fondue pot, along with other accessories and utensils. You also need to follow basic fondue etiquettes so that your fondue party remains etched in the minds of your guests!